How is your family coping with COVID-19?
If you’re like many parents in Pennsylvania and across the United States, you might not be sure about how to answer the question. These are uncharted territories for all of us, and you might be wondering how you can better support yourself and everyone else in your household.
In a previous post, we discussed a few ways in which most children’s lives have been disrupted by COVID-19 and the changes it’s forced upon every aspect of our lives. Be sure to read through that information if you haven’t already done so. In today’s post, we’re going to discuss several mental health warning signs parents should watch for in the coming weeks and months.
At Family Care for Children & Youth, our mission is to make a difference in the lives of as many children as possible. If you’re considering opening your heart and home to a child in need, we invite you to reach out to our Pennsylvania foster care agency to learn more about becoming a foster parent. In times like these, it’s caring, supportive people like you who can make lasting impacts on children’s lives.
Watch for These Mental Health Warning Signs in Children
Before we begin, it’s important to note that this list is not exhaustive and cannot serve as a substitute for professional advice. If you suspect that your child’s mental health has suffered due to the effects of COVID-19, contact your general practitioner or schedule a meeting with a licensed children’s psychologist.
Withdrawal is a common response to stress in children. As we discussed in our last post, anxiety is a response to perceived threats, and withdrawing from everyday life is a common, but unhealthy, form of coping.
Withdrawal will manifest in different ways depending on your child’s disposition and normal behaviors. They may spend more time in their room alone, or they may avoid participating in activities they normally enjoy. You might find that it’s more difficult to get them to eat at the table, and they might find it difficult to make eye contact and participate in conversations.
Stress can cause just as many physical symptoms as emotional ones. Excessive or unexplained crying, aches, pains, stomach aches, elevated heart rate, and sweating are a few of the most common signs of physical stress your child may experience. They might also find it more difficult to fall and stay asleep, which can in turn increase their risk of experiencing more stress during the day.
Many parents have noticed behavioral changes in their children due to the stress caused by COVID-19. Some children have reverted to behaviors they haven’t exhibited in years, such as wetting the bed or relieving themselves in their clothes. Others become irritable and act out, rebelling against their parents and fighting with their siblings. Many experience trouble concentrating and focusing on their homework, leading to poor performance and slipping grades.
Check In On Your Child
If you’ve noticed any of these signs or symptoms in your child, it’s important to check in on them and let them know that you’re there to support them.
If you haven’t already done so, take the time to have an honest, open conversation about COVID-19 and how it’s affecting your household more specifically. Hear them out before offering any solutions — actively listening to what they have to say is often much more beneficial than providing them with solutions.
Contact Our Foster Care Agency
At FCCY, we understand that this is an incredibly difficult time for both parents and children. If you’re currently a foster parent and would like additional guidance, feel free to reach out to one of our Pennsylvania foster care offices. You can also get in touch with us if you’re interested in learning how to become a foster parent. We’ll provide you with start-to-finish guidance and show you how you can make a lasting difference in a child’s life.